HOW TO RUN THE COURSE
fOUR WAYS TO DO THE COURSE
There are at least four ways to do the course
People will gather at the church building. They will eat the meal together, watch the filmed talk together, and then they break into small groups. Often this is done one evening a week.
Small groups will meet in private homes, or other spaces. Only for the final session will the groups will all come together to worship and watch the talk.
For both options 1 and 2, a session might run like this.
7:00 – Food
7:30 – Welcome and Worship/Prayer
7:40 – Filmed Talk
8:00 – Discussion Groups
9:00 – End
A church might offer the course during their weekly worship. Their schedule will be like this:
Worship and prayer
This approach will still require at least 90 minutes, perhaps longer.
It is best if people can be in the same group week after week, so that trust builds. You might have an open group for people who are there only some weeks. This group will be good at including visitors and new seekers.
A small group might decide on its own to do the course. Or a college or other body might decide to offer it. Or it might be offered to a specific group, for example, young mothers, or seniors.
HOW The Small Groups WORK
How many people in a group?
To do the course, you need a minimum of three people, though two could maybe get by. The best number is somewhere between 5 and 10. Do not go larger than 12.
How do we get the small group guides?
The guides are available in the Resources section of the web page. Ideally, every group member has a copy in front of them. If you want hard copies, you can either print these yourself, or order copies of the printed booklet. If you print them yourself, please note that the pages are designed to be printed back-to-back. The booklets cost AUD$2, and can be ordered via the Resources section of the web page.
How do the groups work?
The guides take the group, step by step. All the leader needs to do is to read each part, or ask someone else to read it, and then listen as others talk.
The House groups are more than discussion groups. They are growth groups. They are for people to honestly ask questions and share about their lives in a safe space. And for people to encourage each other.
You will want the group to sit in a circle, in a relaxed setting. Make sure that everyone is seated on the same level, and nobody is outside the circle at all.
At times there will be personal sharing. So, make sure each group cannot be overheard.
HOW CAN WE PROMOTE THE COURSE?
Resources to use
The Promotion section of this web page has items you can download. They include:
Various versions of The House logo which you can use in your newsletter or in leaflets.
Power point slides.
Banner. The PDF can be given to a pull-up banner maker.
Social media image.
Ideas for advertising
The best advertising uses every avenue possible. And repeats often. You might use:
Leaflets or printed postcards
Items in your newsletter
To produce quality post cards etc, check out www.canva.com.
For public announcements
To advertise by word of mouth, you might say something like this:
Do you have a hunger for God? Are you interested in knowing him better? Would you like him to help you grow as a Christian? And become more like Jesus?
If your answer is yes—or you wish it was yes—then The House course is for you. This is a seven-week course which we are going offer. Each week, we will eat a meal together. Then we will watch a 20-minute talk. And then we will meet in small groups to discuss the talk.
The teacher is Peter Farthing, who is a Salvation Army officer from Australia. One pastor there said: ‘Brilliant series. I would highly recommend this to anyone. It has been life changing to our church here at Auburn Salvos.'
The course will run on . . . . beginning . . . . To sign up, . . . .
WHAT PEOPLE WILL WE NEED?
You will need small group leaders. And if you are having the meal, you will also need hosts. That is, people who can look after the food and drinks etc. And who can welcome people each week and create a welcoming space.
Choosing the right hosts and leaders is crucial. And then training them, too.
The best leaders and hosts are people who are warm and friendly. Choose people who are open to God. Choose people who do not talk all the time. They need to listen. They need to allow others to fill the gaps.
The small group leader is not meant to teach. They simply create a warm atmosphere, and then gently lead the group following the guides supplied.
WHAT ABOUT PRAYER?
Here are a few ideas, based on suggestions given for the Alpha course:
Get your whole church praying. Spend some time praying for the course in services, small groups and prayer meetings. Not only does this make a difference, but it also helps keep the course in the minds of the church and reminds them to invite their friends.
Get people to pray together before each session of the course. Whether it’s lots of you or just you and a couple of friends, allow time to pray.
Get hosts and leaders praying for each guest. Encourage hosts and leaders to pray for every guest in their group every day by name throughout the course.
Get the participants praying when they are ready. They can pray in the group—but don’t pressure them until they are ready. They can pray for each other during the week.
WHEN THE COURSE IS ABOUT TO BEGIN
It is important to test out the video and sound system ahead of time, to make sure it works well. It your internet speed is slow or unreliable, it is a good idea to download the talks ahead of time. Contact us if you need help with that.
Print the small group guidelines for the session. Ideally a copy for every person. Or have the printed booklets ready to go.
Group leaders will need to read the guide before meeting each week. Some weeks, including the first week, require the leader to prepare a little. There are things you need to bring to the first session.